Say It Make It Eat It – Roger Mooking

Pelau Is A Trinidadian One-Pot Wonder Dish, Says Chef Roger Mooking

If you didn’t already know, Trinidad’s cuisine is pure, mouth-watering magic.

And for Food Network celebrity chef Roger Mooking, it only takes one pot to make the ultimate Trini dish: pelau, a flavour miracle of chicken, rice, caramelized sugar, pigeon peas and pumpkin.

In this episode of Huffington Post Canada’s “Say It. Make It. Eat It.” series, the Food Network star guides the uninitiated in pronouncing and preparing his favourite food. For the record: pelau is pronounced with a quick and short “peh,” followed by an emphasized “lau,” rhyming with “ow.”

Making Pelau with Food Network Chef Roger Mooking


Cook Like A Chef: 10 Tips To Cook Like A Pro In Your Kitchen

Food Network Chef Roger Mooking
Food Network Chef Roger Mooking

I treat my home kitchen like a restaurant.  After so many years working in and running kitchens it’s really the only way I know how to operate when put before the tools of my trade.  My wife and I operate quite differently in the kitchen, and after a lot of reflection I’ve deduced that these are what separates the pros from the home cook.  If you want to enter the pro category then here are a few suggestions to step your kitchen game up:

  1. Clean As You Cook.  No one, including me, loves to clean up a huge mess of dishes, pots, pans and spatulas after cooking and enjoying the dinner you spent so much time preparing.  So wash up and keep your work area clean as you cook, it will make your work more efficient and save the hassle of cleaning up a huge mess.
  2. Pregrind Your Pepper Before Starting To Cook.  I like to always use freshly ground pepper.   When I’m going to start cooking I make sure to grind a batch of pepper in a dedicated coffee grinder and put it in a container ready for seasoning right next to my salt well.   When you need that extra pinch of seasoning then it is always at hand and can adjust your flavours as they are building.
  3. Utensils At Hand.  Make sure you have a vessel with all your most commonly used utensils (spatulas, wooden spoons, whisks, slotted spoons, tongs, etc) at hand on your counter near your cooking area.
  4. Flavor Builders On Hand.  My fridge always has an array of herb purees, half made sauces, béchamel, marinating tomatoes, pickled this and that, and all other kinds of things that allow me to add that extra little something to that dish I’m currently working on.  Often these flavour builders are leftovers from a previous meal.  I’ll make a little extra just for this purpose.  Make sure these containers are labelled clearly and dated so you can keep track of their freshness.
  5. Saving Foods.  Before that fresh bunch of herbs you bought a few days ago goes bad, place them on a tray and put them on a shelf so that they dry out.  Usually drying fresh herbs like this only takes a couple of days but this way you always have vibrant flavours to add to your dishes just when you need it.
  6. Save Those Stems.  After picking herbs like Thyme and Rosemary, I will always place the stems on a tray to dry.  After I’ve collected a fistful of herb stems I will add them to a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and let it infuse over the next month or so in my pantry.   I’ll always buy a couple bottles of olive oil at a time so I can dedicate one whole bottle for infusing with herb stems.  Use the herb infused Olive Oil for finishing, salad dressings, drizzling on grilled bread and other similar last minute uses.
  7. Freeze Fruit.  Before the fruit on your counter goes bad (bananas, peaches, berries, etc) and hits your municipal compost heap, place them on a flat tray in the freezer.  Once they are frozen solid then transfer them to a freezer bag.  Use up the frozen fruit for smoothies, homemade ice cream, and baked goods.
  8. Cast Iron Cookware.  Use cast iron cookware to replace all of your non stick pan needs.  Not only will these pans become seasoned with flavour and repel stickiness over time, they will also survive generations.  Your grandkids can cook eggs in the same pan that you did when you were learning to cook in the kitchen as a teenager.  Memories like this are priceless.
  9. Buy Good Quality Knives.  Like good cast iron cookware, a good set of knives will not only last generations if maintained properly but they will also make cooking a joy and much less frustrating.  Also, using sharp knives are significantly safer to use than dull ones as food is less likely to slip and move around as you will exert less force to get the job done.
  10. Buy What’s Fresh.  Even the worst cooks will prepare a delicious meal if they use the best quality ingredients their money can buy.  This will usually be the freshest and best looking stuff in your local grocer.  Its easy to do good work with good tools, regardless of what your trade is; cooking is certainly no different.

I could go on for a very long time with this list but all things must come to an end…maybe this post will need to be continued.  Wait for it…
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Summer Grilling with Chef Roger Mooking

Roger on set Man Fire FoodPersonally I grill year round, I host a show called Man Fire Food on Cooking Channel that is all about cooking anything imaginable over an open flame. We’ve cooked everything from whole cows over a fire pit to mussels with pine needles on a table top and it really never gets old.

Aside from our prehistoric affinity for fire, cooking with live flame adds another layer of flavor that most sane humans only reserve for months that don’t have snow or rain, I’m not sane but that’s another topic. The variety of woods change with regional availability and each region claims to have the best wood for cooking. In the southern states of America they favor post oak, live oak, hickory and pecan. In other regions it’s all about pine with that natural sap for accelerant or mesquite for its’ clean, hot burn and deep smoky flavor. In Jamaica the best Jerk spots use green Pimento wood, the green means it is freshly cut and still holding all its moisture so the food steams as the water and sap evaporates as it is heated, infusing the food with that distinct Pimento flavor along with the smoke.

Sunset Grilled Veggies

Cooking with fire is not reserved for carnivores. Veggies cooked on the grill bring their flavors to life in a new way, that little bit of char and smoke adds texture as well as accentuates the natural greatness intrinsic to all veggies. Great vegetables, a little bit of oil, salt and pepper are all you need to get cooking on your barbecue – whether gas or charcoal. Simplicity is (moo)-King but it always starts with quality. You cant, and shouldn’t, hide quality.

You may become so addicted to the greatness of grilling that you do it with a winter jacket on like me, if you aren’t already there.

Man Fire Food Season 4 Premiere – Tuesday, July 14 at 8pm ET

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Roger Mooking celebrates Campari’s Anniversary


Celebrity Chef Chef Roger Mooking talks family traditions and celebrations.

My grandfather left China in the early 1900’s to find a better life in the Caribbean, he was actually looking for El Dorado and got stranded in the Trinidad but that’s another story.  Like many immigrants to a new land with limited knowledge of the local language, he worked hard, saved harder and lived a level of frugality that most of us wouldn’t begin to consider.  After a while he opened his own grocery store, followed by a bakery, then followed by a restaurant.  My father and all of his siblings have been in the food and beverage industry in a variety of forms for most of their lives as well, continuing the path trail blazed by their father.

Now I am the third consecutive generation of Mooking’s continuing the family tradition; it is something I take very seriously.  Working for a living and building a career is an incredible challenge that many of us undertake to feed our families with varying degrees of passion.  Working under the shadow of family tradition and bearing the legacy of one’s lineage takes the necessity of earning a living and makes it a compulsion. After teaming up with SUNSET®, I quickly learned that this is something that Paul Mastronardi and I have in common (amongst our mutual love of great music and delicious food). The family-owned company has passed down the love of food and flavor amongst four generations.

There is a sense of responsibility, accountability and pride that cannot be expressed with any kind of simplicity.  I like to think that the responsibility of carrying the family torch grows deeper and more meaningful with each achievement and anniversary of previous landmarks.

This month we celebrate, with the SUNSET® family, the 20th birthday of the Campari® brand cocktail tomato – the world’s first branded tomato.  Celebrating 20 years of flavor is more than marking a date on the calendar; it is an ongoing celebration of a family commitment, a marker in a long line of family achievements, a cornerstone of the future of a great legacy and a reminder of the pride and responsibility that this double decade landmark holds.

I am proud to be a part of this moment with the Mastronardi/SUNSET® family.  Congratulations, I am looking forward to the next big celebration!”


Celebrity Chef Chef Roger Mooking partners with SUNSET®

Roger Mooking in the Sunset kitchen

Celebrity Chef Roger Mooking speaks about his new partnership with premium greenhouse grower Sunset Grown.

“On a daily basis, folks stop me in the grocery store, on the streets, or
while I’m at the gym to ask me, where do you get the inspiration for your recipes? After being around the food world for a couple decades and learning from chefs from all parts of the world, it comes down to what is freshest when I go to the grocery store. There are a few tricks in my tool kit but they are all rendered useless if the products I’m working with aren’t of the best quality.

So, I’m very excited to announce that I have been working with the SUNSET® team to develop a bunch of recipes using their amazing goodies, do some cool events with them, and generally shout their praises. I met Paul Mastronardi, El Presidente of SUNSET®, about a year ago on a tour of their greenhouses and facilities in Kingsville Ontario; to say that I was blown away would be an understatement. Paul and everyone on the team are so passionate about every aspect of their operation. It’s that rare kind of excitement I so seldom get to witness first hand; it is a very inspiring thing.

First, the sheer scale of the greenhouse facility is so vast! we rode around in a golf cart going up and down the aisles trying all kinds of tomatoes straight off the vine. Many of the tomatoes I tried, I later learned, were strictly under development and although mind blowing, may still not be good enough to see the light of a grocery store. We drove around an entire greenhouse the size of what must have been a couple football fields, and this was just the development space – real dedication!

Hearing about Paul’s travel schedule, which is mostly dedicated to seeking the next best thing, proved once again the level of commitment to excellence that this company has. I was sucked in and incredibly inspired not only by the great stuff that passed my lips that day (cucumbers, sweet peppers, and of course, tomatoes!) but also by walking through the various buildings and feeling the pride from every single member of the team.

Inspiration is infectious and I’m incredibly excited to share some of the stuff I’ve been working on with the SUNSET® crew. Stick around, it’s gonna be a fun ride!”

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Roger Mooking Cooks Up Sunday Dinner on the Today Show

Story courtesy of

Do you love chicken but don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen prepping and cooking? Lucky for you, TODAY is teaming up with celebrity chefs to make things simpler for you. This week, TODAY has a cooking series titled “Super Simple Chicken: The Only Recipes You’ll Ever Need,” which features delicious chicken dishes.

For the last day, we’re featuring Roger Mooking’s tasty sweet chili BBQ chicken.

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Sweet chili BBQ chicken

Roger Mooking

Shopping list/Ingredients

  • Whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce (see attached for brand)
  • 2 splashes Angostura Bitters

Place chicken on a clean dry cutting board breast side up. Using a large chef’s knife, insert blade into the cavity of the length of the chicken and split along the back of the chicken so that it can be spread open like a butterfly. Place chicken skin side down and place three slits along the inside legs on each side of the chicken, creating six slits total.

In a non-reactive bowl or tray, combine rest of ingredients and drizzle two-thirds of the marinade over the butterflied chicken. Flip the chicken and add remaining sauce. Allow marinating for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 24 hours refrigerated.

Preheat grill to medium low temperature then reduce to low heat once heated fully.

Place marinated chicken, skin side down, over direct low heat and press down firmly with a spatula. Let chicken cook for approximately 30 minutes without moving it. Flip chicken once and continue cooking for another 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Serve hot with sides of your choice.

Essence Gets In the Kitchen with Roger Mooking

Story courtesy of Essence

roger mooking essence 2014

At five years old my family moved from Trinidad and Tobago to the brittle cold of winter in Edmonton Alberta, Canada.  Not only the weather, but also the community was icy towards our less than common Caribbean family.

After a few years we discovered a community of transplanted Trinidadians of which we made fast friends.  Every year our families would get together in my parent’s back yard and our family would host the now legendary annual Mooking Family Father’s Day BBQ. My dad would spend a few days, before party day, marinating piles of ribs and chicken for the grill. My mother would toil away in the kitchen making the BBQ sauce and the desserts.  While my dad setup the bar on the back deck, my job was to peel the corn and put it in  the massive corn pot (which was only used once a year – for this event) with a leftover ham bone, water, white pepper and red finger chilies. Once the ribs and chicken went on, so did the corn.  Slowly the corn water would come to the boil at the edge of the BBQ. After a few minute of boiling the pot would be covered and set aside to stay warm and to allow all the flavors to meld together. At the right moment when all the food was done that corn sucked up all the spices and ham bone goodness. Eating the corn was great but the highlight would be dipping the chewed cob back into your bowl and letting it suck up the seasoned corn water like a sponge and sucking on the cobs till they were dry again. This memory is forever embedded in my brain and I vow to continue this tradition again soon, very soon.

Blue Cheese & Chorizo Balls with Honey Thyme Sauce

Blue Cheese & Chorizo Balls

½ C chopped Chorizo

250 g of Canadian Semi Soft Blue Veined Cheese

¼ C All Purpose Flour

2 Eggs beaten

¾ C Panko Breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil for deep frying

In a stainless steel bowl combine blue cheese and chorizo. Use a teaspoon measure to form 24 equal sized balls.

Place flour, beaten egg, and panko breadcrumbs in three separate bowls.  Dredge all the balls in flour and shake off excess flour. In small batches using a fork, place each chorizo ball in the egg then Panko breadcrumbs.  Repeat with egg and breadcrumbs only so that the balls are double coated.

Place breaded balls in freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat fryer oil to 350°.   Remove balls from freezer and deep fry until golden brown, approximately 30 seconds.  Immediately drain on paper towels.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Honey Thyme Sauce

2 Tbsp plus 1 Tsp Honey

1 ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar

½  Tsp chopped Fresh Thyme

Pinch of Kosher Salt

Pinch of ground Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Serve with Blue Cheese & Chorizo balls.


Roger Mooking’s show, Man Fire Food, airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on The Cooking Channel.